Catching Train SAHW on the Indiana Rail Road

Indiana Rail Road train SAHW rounds the curve in Morgantown, Indiana. The railroad’s SD90MACs feature a striking red-based livery.

If you are unfamiliar with the Indiana Rail Road, perhaps the best train to chase is SAHW, a daily except Saturday run from Indianapolis (Senate Avenue Yard) to Jasonville (Hiawatha Yard).

The crew is called at Senate Avenue at 2 p.m. and the train leaves town around 2:30 p.m.

There are numerous locations to photograph the line, including the fabled Tulip Trestle in rural Greene County where the SAHW usually arrives about 5 p.m.

It was on that trestle that I first encountered the SAHW in early August.

I had been out day with two other guys and in true pandemic railfanning fashion we all drove our own vehicles.

One of the guys had a contact at the INRD and had found out what trains would be operating and when.

By the time we got to Tulip Trestle we had already seen four other INRD trains.

The normal operating procedure is for the SAHW to meet its counterpart the HWSA at Switz City.

So if you hang around Tulip Trestle after catching the SAHW, you should get the HWSA an hour or so later.

Both trains are typically pulled by two-unit sets of SD9043MACs painted in an attractive red and white livery.

The trains also carry double-stacked containers that INRD interchanges with Canadian National and which travel between Indianapolis and the Pacific Northwest of British Columbia for export.

The containers are interchanged between INRD and CN in Newton, Illinois. Every time I’ve seen the HWSA there has been a long string of containers so this business must be fairly robust.

The INRD line between Indianapolis and Newton is a former Illinois Central branch line that was in danger of being abandoned before the INRD acquired it in 1986.

Another good place to photograph the SAHW is in Bargersville. The tracks come through the middle of town in a wide swath of right of way and there is public parking on the west side next to the tracks.

There are even grain facilities to use as photo backdrops.

I’m still getting to know the INRD and where there are good photo locations, but things are off to a promising start.

Of course I wasn’t thinking that the first time I tried to catch the SAHW in Bargersville.

I arrived by 2:30 p.m. and had been told that the train should pass through around 3:15 p.m. I waited, and waited and waited, finally giving up at 4 p.m.

I would later learn that something had gone wrong that day and the SAHW didn’t get out of Senate Avenue Yard until 5 p.m.

My luck with the train since then has been much better.

If you just want to see the SAHW you can always enjoy a brew or two along with a meal on the deck of Taxman Brewing Company in Bargerville in mid afternoon next to the INRD tracks. Expect the train to arrive shortly after 3 p.m.

Crossing on Tulip Trestle in Greene County.

Passing through Morgantown, Indiana, located 30 miles south of Indianapolis.


Getting a bonus in Bargersville. The SAHW passes a work train with an SD40-2 and a CSX Jordan spreader that is sitting on a siding for the weekend.

Bargersville features a grain elevator to use as a backdrop.

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